GMLRS Rocket System Evolving to Meet Battlefield Demands
Lockheed Martin’s Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) has become known as the “70-kilometer sniper rifle” for its pinpoint accuracy and devastating effectiveness across long distances. Minimal collateral damage and extremely high reliability are additional hallmarks that have endeared artillery commanders to the system. Fired from the Lockheed Martin High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) or M270A1/B1 mobile launchers, GMLRS is the go-to precision-fires weapon for the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and allied forces worldwide.
As good as GMLRS is, Lockheed Martin has committed internal research-and-development funds toward a substantially more capable GMLRS system that addresses capability gaps identified by the U.S. Army. Known as GMLRS+, the system is designed to provide significantly greater range, and features a “scalable-effects” warhead that enables the user to select from a range of detonation yields, depending on the target.
GMLRS+ testing is well under way. On Nov. 30, 2011, Lockheed Martin flight tested the GMLRS+ scalable-effects warhead at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, with exceptional results. “The warhead, produced by Aerojet, was set to low-yield prior to the flight and scored a direct hit on the target,” said Scott Arnold, vice president of precision fires in Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control business. “We are pleased that the performance of both the GMLRS+ rocket and the scalable-effects warhead closely followed our engineering predictions.”
Three months earlier at White Sands, a GMLRS+ test validated the rocket’s ability to fly 120 kilometers – more than a 70 percent improvement in range over the existing GMLRS Unitary round – while retaining its targeting accuracy. “With this latest test, we have demonstrated the GMLRS+ range that our soldiers and Marines have been requesting,” Arnold said of the Aug. 9 test. “While adding this new capability, we are still retaining the system’s affordability, precision and reliability.”
GMLRS+ integrates its new capabilities into the existing GMLRS guidance/navigation package and airframe. The system will accommodate various warheads, and will operate seamlessly within the current HIMARS and M270-series launcher force structure.
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